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iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro: which is for you?

iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro: Which is for you?
(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro join the iPhone 13 mini and the iPhone Pro Max to make up the latest family of iPhones. Compared to the previous iteration of iPhone, the iPhone 13 and the Pro feature a smaller notch, the newest A15 Bionic chip, a longer battery life, improved cameras, and new colour options.

While the iPhone 13 starts from $799 / £779, the iPhone 13 Pro starts from the slightly higher price of $999 / £949. If you're wondering whether to purchase the iPhone 13 or whether to spend the extra and have access to a larger number of new features with the iPhone 13 Pro, then this guide is for you. 

If you want to look at each of these phones in more detail, see our iPhone 13 review and our iPhone 13 Pro review.

iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro: Design

iPhone 13 pro

The iPhone 13 range offers a variety of colours to choose from (Image credit: Apple)

The overall design of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro are very similar, but they have slight differences. The main difference is the material that they are made of - the iPhone 13 has ionised aluminium edges with a polished glass back while the Pro model has polished stainless steel edges with a matte frosted back. 

Both of these are also the same size, at 5.78-inches x 2.82-inches, but the iPhone 13 weighs slightly less than the Pro model (6.14 ounces compared to 7.19 ounces, respectively). 

One key difference when it comes to the design is that they both offer different colour options. The iPhone 13 is available in product red, starlight, midnight, blue, pink and green; the iPhone 13 Pro is available in graphite, gold, silver, sierra blue and alpine green. 

Overall when it comes to design, the two models are very similar and the main differences only come down to the colour options, materials and the rear camera configuration, so this would be all down to personal preference.  

iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro: camera

iPhone 13 camera

Both models have a 12MP Camera and the Pro model (above) has a Pro Telephoto lens (Image credit: Apple)

The main difference between the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro is their rear camera setups. The iPhone 13 has a dual 12MP camera system with Ultra Wide and Wide lenses, whereas the iPhone 13 Pro has a triple camera setup that adds a Telephoto lens into the mix. The iPhone 13 Pro is also able to optically zoom in ten times further than the standard iPhone 13.

The iPhone 13 Pro is also able to take photos in Apple ProRaw, allowing you to take higher quality photos and record video in 4K at 30 fps.

In addition to this, the iPhone 13 Pro has a LiDAR Scanner in the rear camera array to accurately map the environment and depth, allowing you to take Night mode portrait photos and use the camera for augmented reality.

If the camera is important to you, then you're probably better off opting for the iPhone 13 Pro or the iPhone 13 Pro Max models, rather than just the iPhone 13.

iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro: display and performance

iPhone 13 display

Both models offer a 6.1-inch OLED display (Image credit: Apple)

Both the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 Pro models use Apple's latest A15 Bionic chip, which offers moderate performance improvements compared to the iPhone 12.

Although the chips in both iPhones are the same, the GPU in the iPhone 13 Pro is better, which means that users can expect a slightly improved performance from the Pro model, especially with more demanding apps and video editing.

The A15 in the iPhone 13 Pro also has 2GB more memory than the standard iPhone 13, meaning that you should be able to have more browser tabs and apps open at one time without performance being hindered.

When it comes to display, the iPhone 13 Pro uses ProMotion technology that offers a refresh rate ranging from 10Hz to 120Hz, changing based on what is on the screen at the time. When viewing a standard website, the phone will use a lower refresh rate, but while playing a game or using other high-intensive apps, the refresh rate will increase to provide a smoother and more responsive experience.

The iPhone 13 Pro is the first iPhone to feature this technology but this isn't necessarily an essential feature for most iPhone users.

iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro: battery life

iPhone 13

The iPhone Pro has extended battery life, great for gaming and video playback (Image credit: Apple)

When playing back video, the iPhone 13 Pro allows three extra hours of battery life compared to the iPhone 13, which offers 19 hours total (still a fair amount). The Pro model can also offer five hours longer battery life when streaming video too. 

Overall in regards to battery life, the iPhone 13 Pro has a strong advantage over the iPhone 13. For those who tend to stream video a lot or want to use their iPhone to record and edit video, the higher-end Pro model would be the better option of the two models. 

iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro: storage

iPhone 13

The iPhone 13 Pro offers up to the 1TB storage, great for high resolution photos and video recording (Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro are both available with 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB of storage, but the iPhone 13 Pro is also available with a 1TB storage option, which is ideal for users who are going to be taking full advantage of the camera. 

The 1TB capacity is likely more aimed at professionals who intend to store large ProRes files but could be useful to anyone with large enough libraries of podcasts, photos or games. 

iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro: which one is right for me?

iPhone 13 comparison

The iPhone 13 range offers an impressive range with something for everyone (Image credit: Apple)

Overall, when it comes to deciding between the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro models, it's down to what you plan to use your phone for.

The iPhone 13 Pro offers a clear upgrade on the iPhone 13, particularly in terms of its materials, battery life, display and cameras. Although the Pro also has these improvements, these do not significantly change the day-to-day use of the device and most people cannot justify the additional cost for such details. 

If you feel that the Pro model is slightly out of your budget, then you can opt for the standard iPhone 13, without losing out on too many features. If you don't need the most advanced camera or largest storage, then you would hardly notice the difference.

Those most likely to opt for buying the iPhone 13 Pro over the iPhone 13 will be seeking the most premium and fully-featured iPhone that has high capabilities in all aspects or they would be interested in using the phone for photographs and high-resolution video recording. Though it's worth considering that the iPhone 14 is rumoured to be coming soon, and it may be worth waiting for that to be released before either getting the 14 model or a hopefully discounted iPhone 13.

Since both models actually share a large majority of their features, including design, the OLED Super Retina XDR display, 5G connectivity, the A15 Bionic chip, and MagSafe charging, we would recommend the iPhone 13 over the Pro model, unless you are in need of a more advanced camera or increased storage. 

If both iPhone 13 models are out of your budget, then you could consider one of the older iPhone ranges, see our best iPhone for photography guide or our general best camera phone guides for more options.

You can also check out the latest iPhone 11 deals or the latest iPhone 12 deals here.

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